Re: Making use of UTF-16 area for CJK

From: Jake Morrison (
Date: Thu Aug 15 1996 - 07:33:50 EDT


The situation that prompted me to write was this:

The Taiwan government is currently planning an electronic
document management system to eventually cover all paperwork.
They are doing the right thing, and want to use open standards,
SGML and Unicode. Unfortunately, Unicode doesn't cover their
character requirements by a long shot.

No one wants to write new software for PCs using CNS 11643 and
its nasty three-byte encoding. They would rather go with a fixed-width
character set, one that allows easy interchang. One idea is to add the
whole of CNS 11643 to the as yet unused part of UCS-4. (Much better
than their last idea to overlay the Korean section in UCS-16.) A similar
solution may be necessary for Japan and the PRC. (Talk about filling up
the private use area :-).

I am all in favor of having a nice, sane, regular character set
with no duplication. It seems that this will take quite a long
time though (10 to 15 years?) at the current rate. This is completely
understandable due to the painstaking work involved, and at a certain
point character unification becomes impossible due to differing opinions.

What to do in the mean time?

The Vietnamese have already added characters to their version of
ISO 10646. Are each of the CJK countries going to do the same with their
versions of the standard, without any coordination? Is there some
middle ground, where the IRG continues its work, while character blocks
are added (under the control of the Unicode consortium?) to allow
use by Asian governments?

This is a practical question for us. Our X.500 directory supports Unicode,
but it is still not enough. Maybe this isn't a problem that Unicode can

Sorry, another long mail...

Jake Morrison

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